Gas prices dip; SUV, truck sales soar - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Gas prices dip; SUV, truck sales soar

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Low gas prices are influencing SUV and truck sales for some buyers.

According to AAA, this is the first time since December of 2010 that our national average has dropped below $3 per gallon. The national average stands at $2.97 per gallon for regular gasoline. Gas prices have been down consistently for drivers in our area as well, with the average in South Carolina at $2.71.

According to AAA, national pump prices usually drop in the fall because of decreased demand and because it costs less to produce the winter-blend gasoline. But global oil prices have dropped more than anticipated and the supply exceeds our demand, which is also helping prices to stay low.

"It's made it a little bit easier to drive longer distances,” says Danielle Owen, a Myrtle Beach resident. “And a little bit easier to spend money on Christmas presents for my daughter. Other than having to pay so much money in gas."

AAA predicts that we will still be paying for cheap gas into the winter and that prices could drop another five to 15 cents in the coming weeks. Only as long as nothing unexpected happens in the market. This could really help when it comes to holiday travel for Thanksgiving.

Automakers haven't stopped making gas guzzlers, and dealers tell WMBF News that SUV and trucks are top sellers. And they're attributing some of that to the lower gas prices. Some people who are considering a new car will now consider an SUV. And some people who are looking at an SUV are now considering a full-size pickup truck. And for many people, that decision actually results in the same, if not better, gas mileage.

"The new designs on the engines, the technology is a lot more advanced,” says Pat Fire, the general manager at Hyatt Buick GMC. “So the fuel economy is significantly better than it used to be. So some of these big vehicles are getting just as good of fuel economy as some of the older compact cars used to get years ago. With the fuel prices being lower right now, it makes that situation all that much more attractive."

Hyatt Buick GMC says their top sellers right now are the Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia, GMC Terrain, GMC Yukon, plus their trucks.

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